BOC seizes P101 million smuggled onions, agriculture merchandise


A market vendor shows the size comparison of the onion bought from local farmers and a giant onion that came from an undisclosed origin at the Marikina City Public Market on January 23, 2023.

MANILA, Philippines — Smuggled onions and other agricultural products amounting to more than P101 million have been confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

In a statement yesterday, the BOC said the products, including red and white onions, mushroom balls as well as sugar were discovered in 17 shipping containers, which arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) from Dec. 29, 2002 to Feb. 12.

The shipments, which reportedly came from China, were physically examined by the BOC last week.

“While we are not done yet examining all these containers of smuggled agricultural products, we are working on getting to the bottom of these illegal operations,” BOC Deputy Commissioner for intelligence service Juvymax Uy said.

The BOC said the smuggled products were consigned to RYY Consumer Goods Trading, MFBY Consumer Goods Trading and M.S. Fab Builder.

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) director Verne Enciso said he issued alert orders after receiving “derogatory information” about the contents of the containers.


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“Originally, these shipments were declared to have pizza dough, fish balls and some pneumatic tools. But so far, of the containers we have opened, we found agricultural products such as sugar and onions,” Enciso said.

CIIS-MICP chief Alvin Enciso said they put the containers on hold for the conduct of physical examinations.

“It’s critical for us to act swiftly on these matters because if these containers are carrying agricultural products, then we have to coordinate with other government agencies for the proper documentation,” Enciso said.

“We are not just on the lookout for contraband items such as illegal drugs. We are also protecting our markets from the economic impact of smuggled goods,” he added.

The BOC said it would issue warrants of seizure and detention for the smuggled agricultural products for violation of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

On Thursday, BOC agents discovered P104 million worth of smuggled onions, sugar and cigarettes during inspection of eight shipments from China, Hong Kong and India.

Personnel of the CIIS-MICP also found smuggled cigarettes valued at P1.4 billion in a warehouse in Indanan, Sulu last week.


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